Sunrise of Grosse Pointe Woods

Meet the Sunrise of Grosse Pointe Woods Team

Vera GjolajVera Gjolaj

Executive Director, LPN

"I joined the Sunrise team in 2014. I started as a wellness nurse at Sunrise on Vernier for my first two years and was promoted to their Reminiscence Coordinator. From there, I moved onto Sunrise of Grosse Pointe Woods where I became the Resident Care Coordinator but am now serving as the Executive Director 

My favorite part about working at Sunrise is caring for the residents and working for a company that puts residents’ needs first. I also find helping provide a voice for those living with dementia gives me a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

 Every day I come to work, I know that I get to help make someone’s day better and that I can make a difference in their lives. In my free time, when I’m not running two girls to soccer games and practice, I enjoy reading a good book."


Kim DeeganKim Deegan

Director of Sales

"I’ve been in the senior living industry since 2005 selling all aspects of Senior Living.  I’ve been part of the Grosse Pointe Woods team since 2017 and I’m excited to be part of Sunrise Senior Living and to be able to help make a difference in the lives we serve. 

I’m passionate about what I do, not only because it’s challenging, but also because it’s rewarding in so many ways.  I get the opportunity to help families find solutions for their loved ones and I feel fortunate that I get to be a part of their journey.

When I’m not at Sunrise, I like to spend time with my boyfriend and two cats, go to the gym, shop, read and be outdoors in the sunshine."


Sheila LyonsSheila Lyons

Business Office Coordinator

"I’ve started working at Sunrise 9 ½ years ago.  My prior experience was a secretary to a general contractor for almost 10 years in which I performed accounts payable and accounts receivable.

My favorite part my job is helping the families, residents and the team with their questions or concerns. The best part of working at Sunrise is meeting all the residents and their families and seeing our team work towards our common goal – To champion quality of life for all seniors.

When not at work, I enjoy taking martial arts classes, being in the great outdoors, and spending time with my family and pets. I love to listen to all genres of music and let the mood set the tone."


Sharon PrestonSharon Preston

 Accounting Assistant

"I’ve been at Sunrise of Grosse Pointe Woods since 2016, starting out as a concierge.  I’m now the accounting assistant for both Grosse Pointe Woods and Vernier communities.  

Prior to working at Sunrise, I was in office management, an executive assistant for manufacturing companies and spent 13 years at electronic data systems.

My favorite part of my job is the residents by far!  It makes my day enjoyable to see our residents and hopefully I can make a difference in their day as well."


GretchenGretchen Verbeke

Activities and Volunteer Coordinator

"I’ve worked at Sunrise of Grosse Pointe Woods for 10 years, 8 of them serving as the Activities and Volunteer Coordinator.  I’ve held many roles, starting out as a Reminiscence Care Manager and then as a Life Enrichment Manager in Reminiscence before taking my current position.

My favorite part of my job is being with the residents and making them happy. I love to see the residents having fun and keeping busy. Each resident needs someone to relate to and I feel that if I can brighten up their days, I’m doing a good job.  I’ve had residents say to me that it was their “best day ever” after an outing or activity. This is so rewarding to me and I’m happy I can be a part of that.

I don’t really have much spare time because I’m also a full-time Grandmother to 2 beautiful grandchildren- Melody, 5 years old and Patrick, 2 years old.  I’m so blessed to be their “Gigi” and help out my daughter with caring for them.  I also play tennis competitively in a league and on a team. My husband and I enjoy going out on our sailboat or powerboat as much as we can during the summer months." 


ChrisChris Briggs

Maintenance Coordinator 

"I joined the Grosse Pointe Woods team 14 years ago- when the walls were just being built!  My favorite part of my job is that I get to visit with the residents while fixing things for them. The best part of working at Sunrise, is that I get to come to work and help people, but also learn about our residents and their lives.  In my spare time, I like to spend time with my family, fishing, and tinker in my garage working on wood projects."


DanielDaniel Okerhjelm

Dining Services Coordinator

"I started at Sunrise of Grosse Pointe Woods in 2006.  I started working in the automotive industry, but after being laid off, I decided to go to Culinary School.  I met my wife there and have been happily married for 34 years!  

Previously, I worked at Fox and Hounds restaurant in Bloomfield Hills for 24 years, working my way up to as the Executive Banquet Chef.  

I have a passion for cooking and making sure to please our residents with home-cooked meals. When I’m not at Sunrise, I enjoy spending time with my family and to go fishing."


ZenaZena

House Dog

"Zena is the best dog ever!  She is our trusted 8 year old lab-mix that we rescued almost 3 years ago.  Zena has spunk and is loved by everyone!  She has a sweet demeanor with a stunning smile and kind eyes that will melt your heart.  There is a quiet energy about Zena that can calm you and put focus back into your day. 

Zena takes great pride in her community and is willing to go above and beyond what is necessary to do her job- like helping the Director of Sales on a tour, entertaining visitors and residents with a ball toss and a belly rub, and making sure her meals are served on time.Everyday is quite an adventure for Zena:  she’s a late sleeper, since she’s stayed up helping the midnight team, but will attend meetings with a smile on her face and a contagious energy.  She loves to see her humans and will help anyone in need of a hug and kiss.  

Her favorite pastimes are playing ball, wrestling with other dogs that visit, taking leisurely strolls in the garden, and staring you down for a treat.  
We are so lucky to have Zena as one of our Sunrise Signatures and love her more every day!"





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